CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT
>>Sorry for the late post. I’m having some issues that make it nearly impossible to sit in a chair. ARG!<<
“The fairy police have issued a report that they believe that is why Áthas’s tribe was interested in the sword — to destroy the other tribes,” Edie said. “Is this true, Gudrid?”
The fairy looked at Edie but didn’t respond.
“Who wields the sword, now?” Asmaa asked.
“Some kid,” Gudrid said.
“The sword has been bound to the child,” Edie said.
“By whom?” Gudrid gave a little grin.
“By a Titan,” Edie said.
“Unbreakable,” Asmaa said under her breath.
“It is unbreakable,” Edie said. “So anyone who tries to take the sword from Paddie will die.”
“And if child dies?” Asmaa asked.
“You mean can you kill the child and take his sword?” Edie asked. “No. And either way, the sword is bound to the child’s genetic material. It will be passed through his blood line to his heirs.”
“You seem fairly certain,” Rani said.
“I am,” Edie said. “To be clear, if you attempt to take the sword and you will die. Period. This is how the Sword of Truth has always worked. Why would you be surprised that it works that way now?”
“Because her protector is a human boy,” Asmaa said. “A young child barely able to read.”
“He may not be able to read well, but he will protect the sword,” Edie said. “Is this why you’ve come? To argue over an object of power?”
Shocked, the fairies looked at Edie.
“I’ve heard that you are now connected to a Templar,” Gudrid said. “That you have a plethora of power objects at your beck and call.”
“That’s not correct,” Edie said. “My sister owns the Fairy Princess because it was made for her. It will die with her.”
“But you know a Templar,” Gudrid said.
“I do,” Edie said.
“They attempted to destroy our tribe,” Gudrid said. “I have a right to be concerned.”
Rani and Asmaa watched this interaction closely to see how Edie would respond.
“We are fairies,” Edie said. “Together, we are stronger. The Templars are not currently a threat. They do have access to many of the swords of power as well as other power objects. This is true.”
Edie gave a slow nod.
“They are not fairies. We …” Edie gestured to herself and the other fairies. “… have each other. If we fight amongst each other — attempt to destroy each other — we will be so busy fighting that we will be vulnerable to any outside threat. My proposal is that we join together in sister states.”
Edie looked at Asmaa.
“Including the lost tribes,” Edie said. “We have resources together. We have strength together. We can endure together. Or we can spend the rest of our time destroying each other. You need to decide what you want.”
For a moment, no one said anything.
“Why would you give up your position of power to include…?” Gudrid gestured to Rani.
“We have had the privilege to live in peace for the last few years,” Edie said. “We fought battles for thousands of years. Including one that we were cursed to fight for more than three thousand human years. Our fairies are tired of the wars. We want to live in peace.”
“My sisters, brothers, and my father believe in supporting our fellow fairies in any way we can,” Edie said. “The mother’s daughter Ne Ne has set up education programs.”
“Ne Ne was instrumental in helping us with forming our government,” Rani said. “She’s already started fifty schools for the young fairies. Grandparents and parents go with their children to learn to read and write. It is new, but working. Our fairies are very happy to be able to understand better the humans in our region.”
“And our history,” Edie said. “Our librarians have worked all summer to collect the history of the tribes.”
“King Mannanán has been helping me find the lost fairies,” Asmaa said. “His memory is long. As an immortal, he traveled far and wide before he and his humans settled on the Isle of Man. He had the historic librarian have shared their ancient maps. I found my first encampment of lost fairies this way. Mannanán has dedicated himself to my task. It’s been tremendous assistance.”
“Your father is immortal?” Gudrid asked.
“He is the Celtic God of the Sea,” Edie said. “My mother made him a fairy. He is fairy kind.”
Gudrid looked at Edie and simply blinked.
“What are you afraid of, Gudrid?” Edie asked. “What is your tribes fear?”
“We do not wish to be overrun by…” Gudrid looked at Edie and then at Rani.
“She is afraid of our dark skin,” Asmaa said.
“It doesn’t rub off, sister,” Rani said. “You cannot catch it like a disease. If you wish to keep your children’s glacial skin color, don’t breed with someone of our color. Problem solved.”
Edie looked at Gudrid for a long moment and then looked at Asmaa.
“Your mother’s skin was the color of her sister when she was deposited on this planet,” Edie said. “Her skin changed with time. You, your sister fairies — you are the youngest of the tribes.”
“And the most impure,” Rani said.
“Impure?” Gudrid asked with a sniff.
“You are all at least half human,” Rani said.
“That’s how you got the white skin,” Edie said.
“And why your powers are weaker than ours,” Asmaa said.
Gudrid looked at Edie for a long time before shaking her head.
“Why would you wish to…?” Gudrid asked again.
Edie sighed. She was afraid that they were getting nowhere. Impulsively, she grabbed Gudrid’s hands.
“We are fairies,” Edie said.
“But why…?” Gudrid asked.
“We are fairies,” Edie said. “Our mothers are family. We are family. We are fairies.”
Gudrid blinked at Edie.
“The prophesy says that you intend to destroy the other tribes to have the world for yourself,” Gudrid said, slowly, emphasizing every word.
“Where did the prophesy come from?” Edie asked.
“I… Uh…” Gudrid blushed. “I actually don’t know.”
“It sounds like a story told to keep you and your tribe in line,” Rani said. “Our tribe has never discussed destroying you. You and your kin are our family.”
Asmaa put her hand on Gudrid’s shoulder.
“Breathe the free air, sister,” Asmaa said. “We, Moors, are not here to destroy you. We could have done it at any time in history. We have not. Think about it — none of the tribes has attempted to destroy you.”
“We have only responded to your attacks,” Edie said. “You know this.”
Gudrid’s head went up and down in a nod.
“Don’t you know the current Oracle?” Rani asked.
“I do,” Edie said.
“Does she know the history of the world?” Rani asked.
“She has access to it,” Edie said. “She and our library team have worked together quite a bit.”
“Could we ask her about Áthas’s tribe’s fear of destruction?” Rani asked.
“I will ask our hosts if she may come here to Olympia,” Edie said. “I will ask the Mother is she will allow it.”
Edie closed her eyes and called to Abi. After a moment, she gave them a curt nod.
“I have spoken with the mother. She will let me know. In the meantime, let us share a meal,” Edie said. “I would very much like to know each of you well. The better we know each other, the better we will be able to govern, grow, and adapt.”
“Adapt to what?” Gudrid asked.
“Whatever is coming next,” Edie said.
The other fairies gave Edie a slow agreeing nod.
Thursday early morning — 2:15 a.m.
“No,” Delphie said.
“No?” Abi asked. Her eyebrows rose with surprise.
They were standing at the doorway to Delphie’s apartment.
“Like the kids say, ‘Not a chance,’” Delphie said.
“Why?” Abi asked.
“Shh,” Delphie said. “Lower your voice. You’ll wake Ivy. She’s still catching up on sleep.”
Acquiescing, Abi nodded. She gestured out into the hallway. Shaking her head, Delphie grabbed her bathrobe to cover her night dress and followed Abi out of the apartment. Delphie followed Abi down the hallway to the kitchen.
“I would love some tea,” Abi said.
“Of course,” Delphie said.
Abi wasn’t allowed in the kitchen since she shorted out the electricity for the entire area one day. Delphie went to the fill and turn on the electric kettle. Delphie set out two cups and then dug in the cabinet for the special tea that Abi liked. Delphie had hidden it so that Abi could actually get some of it.
“Ah ha!” Delphie exclaimed as she pulled the tea bags from the back of the cabinet.
Abi grinned. The electric kettle clicked off and Delphie made poured the hot water into the mugs.
“You look very nice,” Delphie said.
“I have been in court at Olympia,” Abi said. “Now, Edie has asked for your assistance. It’s not like you to turn anyone down who needs help, especially someone you like so much.”
“I will not go to Olympia,” Delphie said. “That’s final.”
“Why not?” Abi asked.
Shaking her head, Delphie carried the cups out into the Castle living room. Delphie took a spot on the couch. Abi flicked her hand toward the fireplace and a cheery fire blazed, providing cheery warmth and golden light. Delphie smiled in appreciation. Abi took her tea and sat down next to Delphie.
“Princess Edith has asked for your assistance,” Abi said. “It’s hard for me to believe that you won’t help her.”
“I would be happy to help Edie but I will not go to Olympia,” Delphie said.
“Why?” Abi asked.
“Oracles and Olympians do not mix,” Delphie said.
“Why do you say that?” Abi asked.
“Zeus has tried on more than one occasion to obliterate all Oracles,” Delphie said. “He finds out abilities ‘against nature.’ A threat to his power.”
Abi gave Delphie a long assessing look.
“You’ve been looking through history,” Abi said.
“Edie asked me to take a look,” Delphie said. “She doesn’t trust Olympia. She’s unsure why they would want to assist with the fairy world.”
“What did you find?” Abi asked.
“Edie has a right to be concerned,” Delphie said. “Zeus does not like to be threatened. He’s the one who launched the Titan war. He cannot tolerate anyone having more power than he has. He will not tolerate any species that has a different power than his.”
“Like the power of an Oracle,” Abi said.
“Exactly,” Delphie said.
“He is no longer in the Sea of Amber,” Abi said.
“I will not go to Olympia,” Delphie said. “I’ve spoken with Perses and a few of the other Titans. They believe that Zeus will come after them again if he realizes that so many of them are still alive. Can you think of any way that he might realize that?”
“Áthas’s fairies.” Abi shook her head. “Are the fairies in danger now?”
“From Ares, their host?” Delphie asked.
“No,” Delphie said. “Ares will be in danger once Zeus discovers the fairies are there.”
“This could destroy Olympia,” Abi said in a soft voice.
“Who would benefit from that?” Delphie asked.
“Áthas’s tribe,” Abi said.
“And humans,” Delphie said. “Those who are ruling Áthas’s tribe in her absence want to disband the tribe and live like humans. They want the wealth and glamor of human life. With their limited magical abilities, they can easily fit in with the famous for being famous crowd.”
“They are no threat to Zeus,” Abi said softly.
“Exactly,” Delphie said.
“Is this going on right now?” Abi asked. “Is Edie in danger? Asmaa? Rani?”
“Their futures are not determined,” Delphie said. “I must ask you …”
Abi turned to look at Delphie.
“What is your relationship with Zeus like?” Delphie asked. “The stories are that Kronus got rid of you and Uranus.”
Abi winced and nodded.
“Not all stories are true,” Abi said, mildly. She shook her head. “One reason I love being around the people native to North America is that their stories are not filled with these petty power plays. The misogyny of Greece and Rome manipulated the stories so that one white male god ruled over everyone else. One male god killed off his father and his son then killed him. Just absurd. The fact that anyone believes them? Ridiculous.”
Delphie gave a slight nod. Abi stared at the fire for a few moments.
“So Kronos?” Delphie asked.
Abi shook her head.
“A story for another day,” Abi said. “What shall we do? Advise me Oracle.”
Delphie took a breath. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind. Letting out the breath, she looked at Abi.
“How may I be of assistance?” Delphie asked.
“What should we do?” Abi asked.
“Let Áthas’s fairies go,” Delphie said. “Help them settle in the modern world and continued to make a union of fairies.”
“There are thousands of lost fairies,” Delphie said. “Some of them are going to want to stay independent. Others are going to want to integrate into the human world. That’s a fact that Edie never considered.”
“Who would give up being a fairy to become human?” Abi asked. “Of course, Edie hasn’t thought of it. The very idea is crazy.”
Abi’s eyes flicked to Delphie.
“No offense meant,” Abi said.
Delphie waved her hand to shoo away Abi’s comment. Delphie was not offended.
“It seems that they …” Delphie’s eyes flicked to Abi. “Well …”
“What is it?” Abi asked.
“You would have to give them the choice — stay, participate, keep your powers, or leave,” Delphie said. “Most will make the choice to leave. They will need support and assistance.”
“So we could do a year test?” Abi asked. “We’ll help the tribe settle into the human world and then you have a year out on your own.”
Delphie scowled and shook her head.
“What?” Abi asked.
“My sense is that they wish to destroy all fairies,” Delphie said. “They feel like the other fairies have excluded them because they are less powerful.”
Delphie looked at Abi.
“Were they excluded?” Delphie asked.
“Not that I know of,” Abi said. “We’d have to ask Fin, but I believe that they spurned all of his efforts to include them.”
“Why would they want to destroy all fairies?” Abi asked.
“I …” Delphie’s eyes went vague. After a moment, she cleared her throat. “Sorry.”
“What happened?” Abi asked.
“We need to get Edie and the others out of there,” Delphie said.
“Out of Olympia?” Abi asked. “Where? Where can I place them?”
“Tunnels,” Delphie said. “Below us here. They will be safe there.”
Abi gave Delphie a curt nod. Delphie closed her eyes. Her lips moved in what looked like prayer.
“Rosary?” Abi asked after hearing the whisper.
“Childhood habit,” Delphie said. “When can we go save them?”
“You speak. I act,” Abi said. “The fairy envoys are in the brick coal tunnel under the house.”
“And Áthas’s daughter?” Delphie asked.
“She is with them,” Abi said. “Can they change her mind?”
Delphie shook her head.
“They may still be getting instruction from Áthas,” Delphie said.
“May?” Abi asked.
“They are,” Delphie said. “Áthas wants revenge. Her sisters were more successful than she. Áthas had to suffer greatly while the others thrived. She blames her sister fairies. Áthas wants her fairies to destroy the fairy world so that when the sisters are off retreat, they will feel like Áthas has felt all of this time.”
Abi raised her eyebrows and looked ahead. Abi was quiet for such a long time that Delphie closed her eyes and went into trance.
“No!” Delphie screamed. “No!”
Abi grabbed onto Delphie as she kept screaming. Jill’s door flew open and she ran down from the loft. Heather and Blane came running up. Tanesha and Honey came into the living room at the same time.
“I can’t make any sense of her,” Abi said. “She saw something …”
“Paddie.” Delphie’s lips whispered the name and the Oracle collapsed.
Denver Cereal continues next week…
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